Fremont students rally around orchestral teacher Ross Hansen who was diagnosed with cancer | Education
Grace Ipsen wanted to win her school’s fundraising challenge, not only because she wants to be principal for the day, but also because she truly believes in the cause: helping Fremont Middle School group teacher Ross Hansen , to fight against colon cancer.
“At first it had to be the main thing for the day,” Grace said. “But I also had him as a sixth-grade orchestra teacher. Then after a while, I didn’t really care to be principal anymore.”
Grace is an eighth-grade student at Fremont Middle School and set to win the fundraising contest as she raised over $ 7,500 through a GoFundMe page on Thursday afternoon.
Hansen said he was overwhelmed with support and didn’t expect anything like it. Hansen recently completed his first six-round chemo cycle, which has proven to be helpful.
Fremont Middle School principal Ben Bentea said Hansen has done an incredible job connecting with his students, from introducing them to new instruments to their preparation for high school.
“I think a lot of it has to do with the way he connects with the kids,” Bentea said. “Our orchestral programs are probably the most requested electives we have on campus, so he did a very, very good job.”
Grace added, “He’s really patient. Even with all the sixth graders making their instruments scream as loud as they could, he wouldn’t get mad.”
Eighth-grader Savannah Sanders never had Hansen as a teacher, but she said sometimes she stopped by her class just to talk to him.
“He’s really nice. He always listens to what people have to say,” Savannah said. “Sometimes I would just go to his classroom and talk to him because he’s like that really nice kind of person.”
The Fremont Leadership class hosts a fundraiser every year. This year, Bentea suggested that the students raise money for Hansen and the students were eager to help.
The students took to the community to raise funds with prizes for the best fundraiser and the rating that raised the most money. The goal is to raise $ 25,000. As the fundraiser wraps up on Friday, the school district will continue to receive donations and make sure they get to Hansen. Grace’s goal with GoFundMe is to raise an additional $ 25,000.
Hansen hasn’t been to school recently, but keeps in touch – at least once a week – with Bentea and the substitute teacher who has taken over her class.
Bentea said he hopes to have Hansen back in class in the fall. “I have it on the main schedule for next year,” he said.
In addition to teaching at the college for 16 years, Hansen is also an assistant professor at Umpqua Community College and a guitarist.
Grace said she hoped to take guitar lessons when she started high school in the fall.
But first, she wants to throw a pizza party for the students at the Developmental Learning Center when she is appointed principal for the day. She also wants to choose Savannah as assistant manager.
Grace also won the school’s fundraising contest when she was in sixth grade, raising money for veteran housing.
She raised around $ 1,000 then, but really stepped up her efforts this year by creating the webpage, talking to service organizations, businesses and the media.
Grace’s mother, Catherine Barry, who is a dermatopathologist, explained how expensive chemotherapy and cancer treatment can be.
“You can spend $ 5,000 in a day,” Barry said. “We tried to make as much money as possible for him. You don’t know what insurance will cover. Teachers usually have good insurance, but you just don’t know.”
Bentea said Hansen never asked for money, but “knowing how ridiculous the cost of treating cancer is, I think anyone in a similar situation would likely appreciate the support.”
Grace said her mother’s explanation of cancer treatment made her feel bad and scared for her teacher.
“I was scared for him because he’s a great teacher and I didn’t want anything bad to happen to him,” Grace said. “He was always waving to people in the hallways and he was always nice even to the mean kids in our school who didn’t care in his classroom and didn’t care. He always respected everyone.”
You can reach Sanne Godfrey at [email protected] or 541-957-4203. Follow her on Twitter @sannegodfrey.